Op-ed misrepresents Global Village

Dear editor, I read with great interest Max Krieger’s April 4 column about diversity at UVM, and I am glad he is encouraging the campus community to think seriously about this important question. His column, however, seriously misrepresents the nature and structure of programs in the Global Village Residential Learning Community at Living/Learning.  Mr. Krieger states that programs such as African Cultural Traditions, for instance, “encourage minorities and international students to stay in their comfort zones and stick together instead of venturing into the great white sea that is the average on-campus dorm,” implying that such programs cater to and are designed for minorities and internationals. This is simply not the case.  Only four of the 13 current residents of African Cultural Traditions are African or African-American. The program exists primarily as a vehicle for those with no ethnic or cultural ties to Africa to enhance their knowledge of its cultures and share that knowledge through events open to the university community. All of the programs of the Global Village have similar educational goals that have nothing to do with encouraging students of particular ethnic or national heritage to band together in a “microcosm.”  Global Village does house many international students, nearly all of whom are placed in programs unrelated to their countries of origin. If some students do choose to live in a program that corresponds to their ethnic heritage, they are exercising the same choice as the thousands of students who choose to live in what Mr. Krieger calls the “great white sea” of a more typical UVM dorm. It is regrettable that Mr. Krieger did not take the time to check his facts. His examples simply do not prove the point he was attempting to make.   Joseph Acquisto Associate Professor of French Faculty Director, Global Village Residential Learning Community